Mindfulness; it’s that buzzword that seems to be EVERYWHERE at the moment, but what exactly does it mean to be mindful? Being mindful refers to becoming more aware of who you are and what you’re doing in the present moment, without becoming overwhelmed by what may be occurring around you. This grants you important time and space to release negative emotions and energy, and understand the space between ourselves and our reactions. We all have the ability to become more mindful, and with time, practise, and the help of our guide, you’ll have it nailed in no time!
- Make time and space
Ignore the other guides that tell you ‘you must buy a meditation mat/cushion’ – you don’t. Everyone has the innate ability to focus on the present moment without making judgements, it’s simply a matter of practise as to what extent it is possible. Just ensure you have a nice amount of space to sit and relax comfortably, and without any distractions. When you are first practising the art of mindfulness, it may be easier to do so when no one else is home, with your phone, TV and radio off, so that there are as few distractions as possible, before you have the skill to be mindful during a period of sensory overload.
- How to sit
Being comfortable is extremely important when you’re attempting to be mindful. If you’re sitting on the floor, sit with your legs crossed in a comfy position, if you’re sat at a chair, ensure the soles of your feet are resting flat on the floor. Place your hands on your legs or a steady surface (such as a table if you’re sat on a chair), making sure they are relaxed. Sit upright – but not rigid! Allow every part of your body to feel relaxed whilst also maintaining good posture.
- Pay attention to current moment
Now for the important part…
A common misconception is that you need to close your eyes for mindfulness. Whilst some people chose to close their eyes, this is not necessary and instead you can allow yourself to take in your scenery. Take deep breaths in and out, paying careful attention to your pattern of breath. Mindfulness is not about silencing your mind, and inevitably, your mind is going to wander. Instead of being judgemental at the thought that crop up in your head, try to mentally acknowledge that they are present, understand the negative way they make your body feel, and let the thought go, reliving yourself of bad energy. It's all about trying to return to the present moment
The first few times you attempt to do this is may be hard, and perhaps feel a little strange, but with patience and practise, the art of mindfulness will allow you to release negative thoughts and energy, causing you to live in the present moment, allowing you to subsequently have more informed reactions. There is an overwhelming amount of research indicating the benefits of mastering mindfulness, such as; relieved stress, better mental health, improved emotional reactivity and better sleep.
So what are you waiting for? Make some time this weekend to live in the moment!